Archive | April 2007

Think Different

I love this commercial. I’m sure you will too:

Ben Casnocha: The Blog: Is Ram Charan Happy?

Ben points to a Fortune article on power consultant Ram Charan. Ram works 24/7, lives in hotels & has no “personal life” or friends. But Ram has found meaning in his life & work, which energizes him.

I am skeptical of one’s happiness without personal relationships, but Ram truly does seem to be happy as demonstrated by his incredible energy. His life is certainly not one that I would want, nor would most people, but I admire his path to at least what he says is his purpose. It shows you the power of personal purpose. If you can find your own, you’ll be filled with endless energy throughout your day, find incredible professional success and have a greater relationship with your family, friends, and yourself.

Ben Casnocha: The Blog: Is Ram Charan Happy?

How not to sell…

In trying to setup my HSA (Health Savings Account), I’ve been venturing into the world of horrible bureaucratic websites that require you to download PDF’s to get any information. I was fortunate to find a human friendly site in Vimo, which does a pretty good job of rating and explaining the different HSA options. It guided me to an HSA administrator I’ve heard good things about from other people called Exante Bank, so I went over to their site and was quickly frustrated.

I will pay someone a $100 if they can tell me what the fees / costs or even benefits are associated with having Exante manage your HSA because I’ll be damned if it’s anywhere on the site. But then again maybe I’m in the minority here in wanting to know what something is going to cost me before I go through application process. Perhaps there are lots of people out there who just like the name and don’t need to weigh the pro’s and cons. They can be persuaded to buy with a vague FAQ section and some pictures of happy people. Now I understand that HSA’s are a new thing and people need to be told what the general benefits are, but I’d also LOVE to know the benefits of putting my HSA in your hands instead of someone else. Hey, I’m ready to be sold, sell me!

This is a classic example of a site that is built purely from the perspective of the company/site owner and not from that of a potential customer. If a potential customer had built this site (or a smart selling company) it would hit you with the benefits right when you landed there. It would be extremely easy to navigate, and display all the costs/fees along with benefits in a clear box or diagram. It would display stories of successful customers, and it would show any press mentions they had. Maybe it would even show me / tell me their management features and just how EASY it is to mange my HSA with Exante. Actually, come to think of it, it would look a lot like this (just with HSA info)

Instead, you’ve annoyed me enough to look elsewhere.

Evolution of Electricity

I’m officially obsessed with the TED talks website. For those of you who don’t know, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a conference held once a year to bring the best minds in the fields above together. It’s mission is simple: Spreading Ideas. Every year they get some of the best minds together and have them speak. They record every speaker and have 100’s of past talks posted on their website, which I’ve become obsessed with recently.

I really enjoyed a speech given by Amazon’s visionary Founder, Jeff Bezos in which he compares the state of the internet industry today to that of the electric appliance industry of 1916. I couldn’t agree more.

I went to Thomas Edison’s Ft. Myers home about 3 years ago, and I remember having this very same thought as I walked through his workshop with his scattered impressive collection of inventions. I couldn’t help but notice that at that time electricity was seen really as only useful for lighting and some heating. All the wiring and infrastructure that went into place was designed to deliver electricity just to do these two functions. In fact (as you’ll see in the video) the first electric appliances plugged into the grid with plugs that were nothing more than light bulb sockets. These first generic electric appliances were merely an indicator of things to come, a true unlocking of the power and versatility of electricity.

Interestingly enough the internet’s story is very similar to that of electricity. It runs through a wire to our homes, but is unable to offer any value until we actually plug into it. It was started really to create a communication network between computers, then built out to facilitate communication between people, and has exploded to facilitate self expression, commerce, and information sharing. But we’ve really only begun plugging our first appliance’s light socket plugs into the grid. Just as electricity’s infrastructure enabled a universe of appliances that bettered our lives (from the A/C to TV, to the computer and internet itself), so too will the very young internet infrastructure.

I’ve heard people say that all the good ideas are taken and the “gold rush,” is over. I’d say, we’ve only just begun. Exciting times ahead.

Check out the video.
http://static.videoegg.com/ted/flash/loader.swf

Ben Casnocha: The Blog: What is the American Dream?

For me the American Dream is having the freedom to pursue happiness & my purpose. I am able to seek out the path which brings more of these 2 in my life, and I’m free to define and redefine what happiness and purpose mean to me at anytime. Thoughts?

Ben Casnocha: The Blog: What is the American Dream?

Futuristic Play by Andrew Chen: Where to find startup ideas for the “Average Joe”

Great article on where to find ideas for your next startup. The myth is you can only start a business with the perfect idea that hits you like a lightening bolt out of the clouds. Not true. I believe the only idea you need is one that inspires action.

Futuristic Play by Andrew Chen: Where to find startup ideas for the “Average Joe”

Futuristic Play by Andrew Chen: Where to find startup ideas for the “Average Joe”

Great article on where to find ideas for your next startup. The myth is you can only start a business with the perfect idea that hits you like a lightening bolt out of the clouds. Not true. I believe the only idea you need is one that inspires action.

Futuristic Play by Andrew Chen: Where to find startup ideas for the “Average Joe”